Babies are so beautiful when they first come home. They sleep the majority of the day while you are able to catch up on some rest yourself. They require very little, other than feeding and changing and snuggling and loving.
But then one day they start sleeping a little less. And you can tell they are starting to get their days and nights figured out. And now, what do I do? I can’t possibly function if baby is up all night and then I’m supposed to be awake all day!
One of my strengths has been teaching my children to sleep through the night. Julia was sleeping 12-13 hours by 3 months, and Brooks, Mama’s little charmer, since 10 weeks. That’s right–through the night. This means no feeding or changing or wake-ups. This means I was able to go back to work at 12 weeks and get a full 8-9 hours of sleep. I not only read a few books I will share some tidbits from, I also got advice from other Mamas.
The two books I read and highly recommend:
Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp: https://amzn.to/2BoyF3o
Harvey Karp, Pediatrician and magic maker, is a fabulous resource for a logical approach to soothing your child and ultimately helping him or her catch many hours of sleep. In turn, you shall sleep, too! He bases his theory on the 5 S’s: Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shhh, Swinging, and Suck. Check him out on Dr. Phil here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_64-LbhT3M. Using this combination of moves turns on your child’s calming reflex. Karp began to notice patterns between babies and started to see how easy it can be to calm a babe using these strategies. This is one of those books that as you read it, you find yourself nodding and thinking… This makes sense.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg: https://amzn.to/2BoAptd
I consider this woman my lifesaver on so many accounts. She not only details different types of babies, she also goes into great detail on how to connect with all types as well. I got this book after Julia was a few months old, and let me tell you… after Brooks was born, this book was the BEST tool for our whole family. She also teaches you how to “undo” different bad habits (like rocking baby to sleep), help baby sleep soundly, and lastly [and most importantly] create space in your day for “You time.” That’s right. You want to shower? Read this book! You want to take a nap? You’ll learn how to create this time. To anyone out there, this book is the one you should give to a new Mama.
Create your Own Routine
Above all, I think it’s safe to say that you and your family will get into your own routine. It doesn’t really matter what you do, it just matters that you create a routine and stick to it. One thing Tracy says in her book is “Start as you mean to go on.” And by this, you need to establish baby’s schedule as soon as you are able. When Brooks was 8 weeks old he had his days and nights figured out, so I began his nighttime routine at 6:00: bath time, jammies, and “night time milk” with a little extra to stuff him full. He went to bed tightly swaddled, laid on his back, sound machine on, and a kiss goodnight no later than 6:30. He would stir [awake] for a few minutes and then he would be out. I wanted bed time by 6:30 to ensure that when I went back to work he could get a solid 12 hours of sleep. I had a few friends read a few other books about helping their child get on a routine, and they turned themselves upside down trying to do what the book was suggesting… do what is right for YOU. If you are losing your mind trying to do it, it’s probably not right or not the right time. Don’t lose your mind over it.
I enforced the “Dream Feed” at 10:30 for a few weeks. I would give him a 2-4 oz bottle of milk without undoing his swaddle or turning the light on. This would give him enough milk to hold him through the night until our wake time, which is at 6:00. (Ross and I both work and we are out the door by 6:45 everyday). I gradually crept up the time slot by small increments and after about 2 weeks he was sound asleep all night long and no longer needed that dream feed bottle. If he woke earlier than that, I would use the pacifier until he realized he could do it on his own.
Aside from creating a routine that works for your family, I also have a few products I’m certain contributed to their fabulous sleeping habits.
- The First Years Sound Machine: ($19) I discovered this sound machine after Julia was born and used it with Brooks. It is HANDS DOWN the best one I have seen or tried. The soft light feature is the perfect illumination for doing a diaper change mid-sleep without having babe adjust to the light. It can be used with batteries or plugged in!
- Halo Fleece Sleepsack: ($22) I had a few of these and used them with both kids. You can make the wrap really tight to keep babe’s arms tight to their body.
- Rock and Play Sleeper: ($50-$90) I swear by this as a place to help baby distinguish between naps and nighttime sleep. It’s easy to transport, it keeps baby elevated after daytime feeds, and is just a cozy little spot to snooze.
- Ubimed Lifenest Mattress: ($78) Although this isn’t a necessity… I truly believe this was a contributing factor in two things. One: my kids both have very nice, round heads. Second: It creates a sort of womb-like feeling and they lie peacefully on their backs. It goes right atop the normal crib mattress, and I took it out as soon as babes began to roll from back to tummy.
- Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets: ($27) Are… incredible. They are a fabulously large size, stretchy enough to wrap babe so very tight, and also stylish! I used these for naps during the day.
Sleep is a magical thing. We all need it, we all want our kids to sleep, yet it’s a struggle for so many new parents. My Mama advice for today is not to write off what advice other Mamas [or the paid experts] may give you about helping your kid sleep. Don’t dismiss it right away–Oh, that won’t work for us… You’re right! It might not work. BUT. You won’t know until you try!
I hope you found some helpful tips about sleep here today! If you would like any other advice about how I did this or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me; I would love to help you catch some zzzzzzs.
This post contains advertisements and by clicking the link, I may receive a commission but at no cost to you. See my full disclosure form HERE